Karla Pauta, above, and Amanda Ok were honored at the State House on Thursday for their student leadership and academic success.
BOSTON, Mass. — Two Berkshire college students were honored by Gov. Deval Patrick at the State House on Thursday for their academic success, student leadership and community service.
Pittsfield native Karla Pauta, now studying at Berkshire Community College, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student Amanda Ok, originally from Ayer, were chosen for the annual 29 Who Shine award.
Staff at each of the state's 29 schools — one from each of the state's community college and university.
Pauta, a liberal arts major with a concentration in biological sciences, came to Pittsfield as a young teenager from Ecuador and graduated Pittsfield High School in 2008. She then went on the BCC, where she is an honors student with a 3.5 grade-point average.
Outside of the classroom, Pauta is a member of the Student Government Association, the Multicultural Student Service Organization, student representative of BCC's presidential search committee and participates in the annual cancer walk.
Pauta plans to transfer to a four-year college and pursue a career in biotechnology. Her hope is to ultimately go to medical school and become a pediatrician.
Ok, a biology major, has maintained excellent grades while working her way through college on her own. Ok has been working as a pharmacy technician and is hoping to pursue a career in medicine.
Ok has been financially on her own since age 17 and has lived off campus while going to MCLA. On the side she is a disc jockey at the college radio station. She plans to move to Boston after graduation and apply for a master's program to study acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
"Amanda and Karla's story reminds us all of the power of education to transform lives," Patrick said of the two. "Investing in them is exactly how we invent a brighter future for Massachusetts."
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